This was our first cruise with Azamara but won't be our last. We took a 7 night cruise from Athens visiting the Greek Isles of Kos, Rhodes, Santorini, Crete and Naupolin on the mainland and Ephesus via Kusadasi in Turkey with the ship sailing about 2/3s full. Given the closeness of all the ports, we were in dock till at least 8pm each evening, but often much later.
We flew into Athens the day before from London and had a night at the Hilton Athens before we boarded the ship. This gave us a chance to explore and rest up before we joined the ship the next day, embarkation was easy and we were on board within 15 minutes of arriving at the port. The lack of the need to queue was something that featured throughout the whole cruise. The longest we queued for anything was 5 minutes whilst we waited for a tender. Having had our last cruise on a 3k passenger ship, you really did notice the difference.
The ship itself was elegantly decorated with all public rooms kept extremely well presented. The cabin was well set out and we used the balcony for breakfast each morning. The bathroom was compact but with adequate storage space. It was maintained by our Cabin Steward Caitano very well and nothing was too much trouble for him.
We ate in the Discoveries restaurant most evenings and the choice and quality of food was good. We also ate in the Prime C speciality restaurant and the food here was excellent. Well worth the 25 dollars surcharge.
We took two excursions with the ship in Santorini and Naupilon, both good value for money as we had booked on line in advance and took advantage of the two for one offer. Other ports we did our own thing and all had something to recommend them. If you are interested in history this was the cruise for you as there were Venetian forts, prehistoric citadels and Ottoman palaces to be visited. However do note that you do need to take a good guide book as few places had signs explaining what you were seeing!
As there were no sea days, there was not a lot of activities put on during the day, but there were a couple of quizzes each day and enrichment talks on the Islands we visited as well as a speaker who was a former Senior Prosecutor from LA who was very interesting and deserved a bigger audience than he got due to the timings of his talks. Didn't see any of the evening entertainment so can't comment on that.
Finally, I would have to say it was one of the most friendliest ships we have been on, every member of the crew seemed to enjoy their work and the senior officers were always visible. To the extent that the Hotel Director and the Cruise Director were both ashore serving gelato to guests as we returned to the ship one day and were both on the gangway saying goodbye to passengers as they disembarked. Disembarkation was equally quick, although 5 hours at Athens airport waiting to fly home was a bit of a downer after being cosseted all week! A great week and we look forward to cruising with Azamara again in the future.